Sooner or later someone is going to criticize you. It may be your boss or a co-worker. Maybe someone in your family will do it. A classmate or friend may jump on the criticism bandwagon. Or, a total stranger may just express himself about something you just did.

Criticism can be constructive and helpful. But most people don’t know how to give or receive constructive criticism. So, how do you take the bite out of criticism?

God reminds us that “a wise person is hungry for knowledge while the fool feeds on trash” (Proverbs 15:14, NLT). I don’t think most of us want to feed on trash. So, why not try these simple things the next time someone offers up a bit of unsolicited “advice.”

  1. When someone offers a bit of criticism, resist the urge to defend yourself (just listen and keep your mouth shut).
  2. After you’ve heard the criticism, utter these words: “Thank you! I’m so glad you care enough about me to share your thoughts with me. I want to take some time to reflect on what you’ve just said. I’ll get back with you in ______ days. Again, thank you.”
  3. Now, walk away and don’t look back.
  4. Once you’ve had some time to cool down, ask yourself (and God and maybe others you really value the opinion of) if the criticism could be true. Did you do or say something you should have not done? Was there a better way? Did you cross the line? Has God said anything about it? Or, is this person got their own issues and really deserve a piece of your mind? The thing here is to seek the truth about the criticism. You want to stay out of the trash!
  5. Now that you’ve got your hands around the truth, you may need to apologize or do something (like take a class on manners or re-write that report). You may not need to do anything if the criticism was unfounded. However, if the criticism was partly true, there may be something you’ll need to do.
  6. Finally, go back to the person who criticized you in the first place and let him know what you concluded. It will blow his mind that you actually reflected on it, made some changes, and then let him know about it.

I’ve followed these basic steps. They work. You’ll blow your critics minds and grow in the process. Now that’s what I call a win!

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